BELTON, TX – After nearly 200 years, it needs a makeover.
The same goes for churches, which is why the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Belton is seeking federal funding.
The Mt. Zion Methodist Church is the oldest African-American Methodist church in the state of Texas and it is clear that it needs a helping hand.
With more than $ 300,000 in federal grants, the improvements to the building are what the pastor of the church and the mayor of Belton believe will create a more attractive center for the community.
The church sits on the edge of Nolan Creek in Belton, which is where you’ll find Pastor Rezolia Johnson preaching at the Methodist Church, in a building that has seen more than a century of change.
“Having a church that fought for something like this to happen and still stands is part of that narrative,” said Pastor Rezolia Johnson. “So the fight is part of that narrative. “
This story being the story of the roots of the church. Of African descent, decades before the Civil War.
Now he needs a serious makeover. The church is partnering with the city and together they are looking for a federal grant worth about $ 380,000, the pastor said.
The grant would be used to restore the historic monument.
“We don’t want to give up,” said Wayne Carpenter, the mayor of Belton. “We want to do all we can to help the congregation and the leaders of the church do what is necessary to keep this building in a safe meeting order.”
However, the efforts to complete the grant process are quite familiar to those involved, as Mount Zion applied for the same grant two years ago.
“We feel like this is such an important project for the people here and for the whole community that we wanted to try again,” said Mayor Carpenter.
Fixing the roof, fixing foundation issues, adding a sprinkler system and sprucing up the exterior are some of the things Pastor Johnson hopes to fix if they get the grant.
“We have come this far and it is not to diminish or minimize what has happened, but it lets you know that we have come a long way and that we are in the same boat”, explained the Pastor Johnson.
And while acknowledging that the city is offering a helping hand, Pastor Johnson says the church’s beginnings are not to be masked, but rather celebrated.
“The history of this church is important,” she said. “The story of what this church has done in this community is important. That story is going to be incorporated when we get this grant. I’m not even saying if. I ‘I say when we get it.
The grant application is due on December 15, 2020 and they will know if they will receive the money in the summer of 2021.
In the meantime, Pastor Johnson says if you would like to help the cause you can donate by sending a check to 218 N. Alexander St., Belton, TX 76513.